I have been on a homemade protein bar kick lately in an effort to increase my intake of collagen. I like to add collagen to my veggie and fruit smoothies, but I am a sucker for snacks that come in bar or square shapes so I have experimented with more of those recipes using collagen. Growing up, I loved the promax brand of protein bars, especially the cookies ‘n cream flavor. Any time my mom would come home from the grocery store with a box of them I got so excited. It was like eating a giant oreo. The center was a soft and chewy cookie-like texture and it was enveloped in a white cream coating. I have always wanted to replicate that specific protein bar using wholesome ingredients, and once I stumbled on this recipe from The Big Man’s World I knew that I had the foundations to rebuild the cookies ‘n cream promax bar recipe.
When I first tasted these bars I was completely taken back to the days where I ate the promax protein bars. The flavors and textures were spot on and you can’t taste the collagen one bit. They were so good that I must confess to eating 3 in the first day. I don’t suggest anyone do that on a regular basis because that’s quite a lot of fiber from the coconut products, but that’s how good these bars are. You will look forward to your collagen-rich snack.
These no-bake, grain and dairy-free protein bars are super easy to make and you might be surprised to find that you have many of the ingredients necessary already in your kitchen! They are suitable for anyone on the GAPS diet (by using honey as the sweetener) and can be made AIP-friendly if you sub toasted carob powder for the cocoa. I hope you enjoy these nutritious treats as much as I do!
- 1 cup coconut flour
- ½-1 cup hydrolyzed collagen (I buy mine here)
- ½ cup dutch-processed cocoa (can sub any cocoa or cacao here, but dutch-processed gives the oreo flavor the most. For AIP sub toasted carob powder*)
- ¼ cup + 1-2 tablespoons (to taste) maple syrup or honey
- ¼ cup-1 cup coconut milk (I used full-fat, canned coconut milk)
- ½ cup coconut butter (aka coconut cream or coconut manna)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (more, if using homemade coconut butter that doesn’t have much oil separation)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- pinch vanilla bean powder or ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- In a large bowl, mix the coconut flour, collagen, and cocoa well.
- Add in the maple syrup or honey and stir well. At this stage it will be clumpy and still very dry.
- Add coconut milk in, starting with ¼ cup at first. Mix well and assess how much more coconut milk it needs. Add coconut milk gradually until a very thick and dense dough is formed. I like to switch to using my hands to mix it up once I add the first ¼ cup of coconut milk and knead it like I would with pizza dough until it’s all mixed up. That way I can really feel when the dough is dense enough and ready to go.
- Press the dough into a small baking dish (I used an 8x8) until it is completely flat and uniform in thickness. If you want a thicker protein bar, don’t use up the whole pan and just mold it into your desired shape and thickness. Place the pan in the fridge while you prepare the cream layer.
- Over very low heat, melt your coconut butter and coconut oil together until fully incorporated. Remove from heat and stir in maple syrup and vanilla (if using). If your coconut butter and oil are in a melted state already, as mine were, you can just stir all of the cream ingredients together in a bowl.
- Remove pan from fridge, spread the cream in an even layer on top of the cookie portion using the back of a metal spoon, and place back in fridge for 30-45 minutes until the cream and cookie have hardened.
- Remove pan from fridge, cut into desired bars (I cut mine into 6 bars). Store bars in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
For AIP- you can sub toasted carob powder for the cocoa OR you can omit completely and just make these plain coconut protein bars that are just as delicious. You will end up using slightly less milk than if the carob/cocoa was in there, but all else remains the same.
This recipe was shared earlier this week on The Coconut Mama.
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